Universal, Paramount prepared to drop HD DVD support

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HD DVD? What’s that?

Universal has ended its HD DVD exclusivity arrangement and Paramount’s HD DVD contract has an escape clause. Should Paramount exercise that clause, and there’s no reason not to at this point, Blu-ray would have thoroughly won this silly “format war.” Now we can get back to the important business of arguing over more important things, like which gaming system is the best or why the Zune (or iPod) sucks so much.

HD DVD’s fate more or less lies in Best Buy, Circuit City, Wal-Mart and other retailers’ hands now. If the retailers see momentum in the Blu-ray direction, they may opt to limit the amount of shelf space they give to HD DVD. That would only accelerate Universal and Paramount’s production of Blu-ray titles.

To videophiles flush with money, the “winner” shouldn’t matter, so long as the studios author their discs properly (remember the abomination that was the first release of The Fifth Element on Blu-ray?). Pirates, on the other hand, are screwed if the BD+ copy protection doesn’t get cracked.

Who knew Warner wielded so much power?

Blu-ray could win high-def battle [Variety via Bits New York Times Blog]

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